Ez Mil cool on sudden success, intrigues

Gil Villa - The Philippine Star
Ez Mil cool on sudden success, intrigues
US-based Ez Mil, the Pinoy rapper behind the viral hit Panalo (Trap Cariñosa) met the Filipino media via a Zoom presser
Ez’s Instagram

Viral rapper Ez Mil has drawn comparisons to the early success of the late master rapper Francis Magalona. Well, his breakthrough hit Panalo (Trap Cariñosa) is patriotically aggressive in tone much like Mga Kababayan which brought to the fore Francis M.’s revolutionary talent in 1990.

The young rapper’s live YouTube performance of Panalo on the Wish USA Bus had hit 20 million views just six days after being uploaded. Its Spotify streams have gotten past the million mark, too.

Some quarters are already projecting the current US-based act to be the next rap heavyweight in the breadth of Gloc-9 whose hit Hari Ng Tondo he hailed as a key influence.

In a Wish USA-conducted Zoom presser with Filipino scribes, Ez Mil sounded preferring to downplay the comparison for obviously fair reasons.

“It’s an honor to be put in the same league as such heavy names. But I’d like to think I’m doing something different. I don’t want to stick to one thing,” he said.

The validity of his personal view can be traced in the unpredictability of his musicianship, with many of his tracks sounding evidently different from each other.

The phenomenal record, track 5 of Ez Mil’s album Act 1 released July last year, made use of the traditional folk song Cariñosa for its chorus. He said he danced to it when he was in high school.

Panalo’s success was partly due to the controversy of a lyric line that goes “pinugutan si Lapu-Lapu sa Mactan.” Some listeners felt he twisted reality with it, while the rapper seemed to express dropping in the line for poetic license or to attract interest, which is exactly what it did.

He insisted, when the press somewhat suggested that he edit the line, “I do not intend to have a corrected version to keep the integrity of the record. It did make people talk and I’ll keep it that way.”

Born in 1998, Ez Mil is, interestingly, the son of band frontman Paul Sapiera whose lead vocals is heard in classic songs Parting Time and Mahal Pa Rin Kita, both from the band RockStar which he fronted and helped skyrocket to fame in the ‘90s.

When asked how he would like to sample his father’s band’s classic hits in a future number, he implied, “That’s interesting and we’ll see if that happens.”

Ez Mil appeared to be cool in addressing anything intriguing that may come his way even early in his career. When asked for his hope for the hip-hop/ rap scene that is often stained with warring factions, he noted, “We should bring everyone up. It should be us against the world, not us against us.”

He also thumbed down the idea of him engaging in a rap battle. “I don’t see myself in the battle arena,” he hinted.

When a showbiz reporter tried to extract if he has a Filipina celebrity crush, he blatantly replied “none.” Also, when queried if he’s single, he convincingly answered he’s taken.

Other popular tracks in Ez Mil’s young catalogue include Cultura, Idk, Freeze and Laboy. His latest release is Tribal Calls, which dropped in digital stores last Jan. 28. He released two albums last year, the other being Resonances.

The rap sensation expressed wanting to visit his home country as long as the pandemic situation is properly addressed.

On answering what could have been the ingredient that made Panalo a true winner, he argued, “I’m proud of being a Filipino and everything that went with that song expressed that. I am happy that my efforts bore fruits.”


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